In the field of psychology, projection is a practice in which humans defend themselves against unpleasant accusations by denying their existence in themselves, while attributing them to others. For example, a person who is ethically challenged may constantly accuse other people of being ethically challenged regardless they are accused or not. In fact, when someone perpetually accuses someone else of something such as overstepping their authority, it is not shocking to discover the accuser is guilty of inordinate authoritarianism. Republicans have spent no small amount of time accusing President Obama of untoward actions as head of the Executive Branch, and yet there is a plethora of Republicans serving in executive positions facing investigations for much worse than issuing executive orders; something within the purview of the Presidency.
The recent indictment of Texas Governor Rick Perry on two felony counts in connection with alleged abuse of power for using his veto authority to coerce a publicly elected official into leaving office is about corruption. When the veto threat and actual veto failed to work, he may have tried bribery, which is why he is facing criminal charges; not because of a veto. Perry claims he was trying to get rid of the head of the Public Integrity Unit (PIU), Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg, because she had been arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol, but the real reason was the PIU was investigating the Cancer Research and Prevention Institute (CPRIT), a taxpayer-funded $3 billion dollar project that awarded research and investment grants to startups targeting cancer cures.
Texas newspapers had reported that much of the money ended up going to projects proposed by Perry’s campaign donors and supporters, and in fact “the entire scientific review team, including Nobel Laureate scientists, resigned because millions of dollars of taxpayer money was handed out through political favoritism.” In fact, the PUI had already indicted one CPRIT executive for awarding $11-million to a company without the proposal undergoing any type of review, and with Perry in the PUI’s crosshairs, replacing Lehmberg became paramount. When the veto threats, and veto, failed to work, Perry offered Lehmberg a “more lucrative job” and reinstate funding for PUI. That is why Perry was indicted; not because of his veto, but because he desperately wanted to replace Lehmberg with a “friendly” Republican who would halt the PUI investigation into misappropriation of funds to Perry’s donors and supporters.
Corruption in Republican executive offices (state governorships) is not unique to Rick Perry, and although it was, frankly, refreshing to see him booked into jail replete with a mugshot, he is not the first, or last, Republican governor to run afoul of the law. Although Perry is the first to be indicted and booked, there are serious investigations into two other Republican governors, a third is in the midst of a trial, and two others should be under investigation as well if they did not enjoy the protection of Republican legislatures and a Party that stands behind ethically-challenged governors; all the while filing a lawsuit against President Obama and threatening impeachment for issuing executive orders.
If Republicans were concerned about overstepping their authority, they would demand the resignation of Wisconsin Republican Scott Walker who has been under an investigation for some time. Prosecutors say during Walker’s 2012 recall campaign, unsealed documents show he played a central role in a “criminal scheme” to illegally coordinate with outside groups and they have emails from Walker to Karl Rove explaining how the coordination between his campaign and special interest groups would work.
The situation, although different, is no less damning in New Jersey where investigators are closing in on Governor Chris Christie. Reports are that investigators already have several of Christie’s top aides “dead to rights” and are unwilling to offer deals to the governor’s aides in exchange for lesser sentences; it is not a good sign for Christie.
Former Virginia governor Bob McDonnell and his wife are in the midst of a trial for receiving gifts in exchange for political favors. According to court testimony, within six minutes of emailing a wealthy businessman about a $50,000 loan, McDonnell sent a note to a staffer asking to discuss state university studies about the man’s new tobacco-related dietary supplement. The staffer testified he was unaware of the loan negotiations between McDonnell and the chief executive of the supplement company, but he was concerned about acting on the governor’s email. It is not a good sign for McDonnell that a staffer was concerned about the “special treatment” for a private business enterprise’s benefit; not a good sign for McDonnell.
If there was any justice, Florida Republican Governor Rick Scott would be indicted for pushing a drug testing requirement for welfare recipients because he founded the company doing the drug testing and stood to profit handsomely. However, conflict of interest in the governor’s office is apparently legal in Florida; particularly since Scott transferred the company into his wife’s name to avoid any “appearance” of impropriety.
Another Republican governor that should be thoroughly investigated is Louisiana Republican Bobby Jindal. He has been transferring public school funding to private religious schools with impunity and assistance from the Republican legislature. This is despite it is unconstitutional to use taxpayer money to fund religious instruction but there is that special and unspoken statute in America that religion is sacred and untouchable; something Jindal is well-aware of.
Republicans have spent an inordinate amount of time accusing and criticizing President Obama for all manner of imagined ethical and constitutional violations, but it is all projection of their own tendency toward corruption. The Republican Party are avid defenders of the Republican governors being investigated, and they stood in defense of Republican war criminal George W. Bush’s administration when he lied to take the country to war and outed an active CIA agent. But they want to sue and impeach Democratic President Barack Obama for issuing executive orders; particularly one they wanted.
If it were just Republican Governor Rick Perry facing legal troubles, it might be an aberration. However, there appears to be a well-established pattern of Republican governors’ corruption that either financially benefits themselves or their donors and supporters. Perry should not be indicted for a veto any more than President Obama should be taken to court or impeached over issuing executive orders. However, there is a monumental difference between Republican corruption, conflict of interest, bribery, blackmail, misappropriation of funds, and violating campaign finance rules and a President issuing executive actions. But when the President is Barack Obama and a Democrat, Republicans simply defend their violations by projecting their corruption on the Black man in the White House.